The Moon: The Moon -- Through the Looking Glass

SURVEYOR 3 was sent to the moon 31 months ago and was not seen again until Astronaut Richard Gordon, in lunar orbit aboard Yankee Clipper last week, spotted it through his tracking sextant. Yet NASA months ago had planned the entire Apollo 12 mission around a successful landing near Surveyor. How could the space agency know the exact location of this tiny target in the vastness of the Ocean of Storms? The answer lies in a remarkable bit of space-age detective work.

Having tracked Surveyor's flight by radar, Pasadena's Jet Propulsion Lab determined that Surveyor had landed some where in a three-square-mile...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!